10 Arizona ghosts, haunted spots, and creepy urban legends

10 Arizona Ghosts, Haunted Spots, and Creepy Urban Legends

Photo courtesy of Canva

By Teresa K. Traverse

October 26, 2023

Fall (and frights) are in full swing all over the state. If you’re someone who’s looking to explore some of the Grand Canyon State’s urban legends, here’s where to start. 

From a ghost town outside of Flagstaff to a few haunted hotels throughout the state, here are 10 tales of ghosts, haunted spots, and urban legends that may keep you up at night. 

Two Guns

About 33 miles east of Flagstaff, off Exit 230 on Interstate 40

Roughly a 40-minute drive from Flagstaff, Two Guns is a ghost town with a haunted past on Route 66. At one time, the town was a thriving trading post but was abandoned in the early 1970s. Located just off Interstate 40, Two Guns is relatively easy to reach. If you visit, expect to see remnants of the town, including a hollowed-out gas station and even an old zoo with cages still erected.

Part of the sordid history of Two Guns is that owner Henry “Two Gun” Miller shot and killed Earle Cundiff over a dispute about a lease. Another infamous tale from the area involves the so-called Apache Death Cave, where 42 Apache men were massacred by rival Navajos in 1878. You can see the cave, but it’s best you not attempt to venture inside as it’s too dangerous. 

Hotel Congress

311 E. Congress St., Tucson

10 Arizona Ghosts, Haunted Spots, and Creepy Urban Legends

Photo courtesy of Hotel Congress via Facebook

Downtown Tucson’s Hotel Congress is said to be haunted by several ghosts, according to the Pima County Library’s website. A handful of paranormal reports include a cowboy ghost that has been seen in the basement; a female ghost decked out in Victorian clothing; a ghost with the initials T.S., who died in a gunfight; and long-time hotel resident Vince, who died there in 2001 and reportedly has a penchant for playing with butter knives in the Cup Café.

Chloride

Roughly 23 miles northwest of Kingman

Although not technically a ghost town, as it’s still home to less than 400 people, Chloride can feel like one due to the fact that it is so quiet. Some creepier sights include a marker near the town cemetery that marks the spot where Metcalf Baker and Andrew Judson were killed by Indians, according to the Southwest Times. You also can check out the abandoned Mineral Park mining town, located about 5 miles southeast of Chloride on US 93.

Historical facts: Named after the silver chloride found in the local mountains, Chloride is Arizona’s longest continually inhabited mining town.

El Tiradito, or the Wishing Shrine

221 S. Main Ave., Tucson

El Tiradito, aka the Washing Shrine, was the site of an unbelievably twisted tale that involves adultery. According to legend, Juan Oliveras was carrying on an affair with his mother-in-law (yikes), whose husband caught them both together in bed and killed them on the spot (double yikes). The Catholic Church refused to bury Oliveras based on his adulterous past, so he is buried where this shrine stands. You can read more about this at length on the Tucson Museum website. It’s said that a 6-year-old boy named Pedro haunts the site, though it’s unclear how he fits into the sordid tales of its history. 

Orpheum Theatre

203 W. Adams St., Phoenix

Built in 1929, the Orpheum Theatre is one of downtown Phoenix’s most famed historic theaters—though it also may be haunted. According to a website called Phoenix Ghosts, four spirits are believed to reside in the space. The most well-known ghost is Maddie, sometimes spelled Mattie, a young girl of about 12. You might spot her on the mezzanine, where she’s known to watch over guests. She’s also wont to tap patrons on the shoulder or shush them when they get too loud.

Lon’s at the Hermosa Inn

5532 N. Palo Cristi Road, Paradise Valley

https://www.instagram.com/hermosainn/

Luxury Southwestern resort Lon’s at the Hermosa Inn is named after painter Alonzo “Lon” Megargee, the hotel’s original owner—and some believe he never left. Guests have reported seeing Lon roaming the halls of this place, and he’s believed to be the cause behind inexplicably flushing toilets and broken bottles, according to the website Haunted Rooms

Weatherford Hotel

23 N. Leroux St., Flagstaff

10 Arizona Ghosts, Haunted Spots, and Creepy Urban Legends

Photo courtesy of Weatherford Hotel Flagstaff via Facebook

The Weatherford Hotel is over 100 years old, so it’s seen its fair share of history. A portion of the Zane Grey Ballroom was once part of the original bridal suite. Zane Grey, William Randolph Hearst, and Thomas Moran all stayed there. According to the hotel’s website, guests sometimes see orbs or apparitions in photos they take in the area. If you’re searching for a potential close encounter, consider booking room 42 or 59—the hotel claims that’s where most of the spooky activity has been reported.

The Connor Hotel

166 Main Street, #155, Jerome

Jerome is believed to be one of the most haunted towns in all of Arizona, having earned the nickname “The wickedest town in the West.” It was a thriving mining town that turned into a ghost town in 1950, after the mines closed for good. Like many establishments in town—most notably the Jerome Grand Hotel—the Connor Hotel may be haunted. 

The hotel burned down twice and was revamped in 2000. The Connor Hotel supposedly has two spirits—an unnamed male spirit and “the Lady in Red.” People staying in Room 1 have claimed to hear the woman whispering. She’s also been known to make an appearance in The Spirit Room bar. A relative of the hotel’s current owner stated that she once heard a male voice calling out to her when she was alone on the second floor

Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park

220 N. Prison Hill Road, Yuma

Cost: $10 each for attendees $14 and up

10 Arizona Ghosts, Haunted Spots, and Creepy Urban Legends

Photo courtesy of Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park

The Yuma Territorial Prison is undeniably creepy. The prison’s first inmates moved into the building on July 1, 1876, and it remained in operation for 33 years until it closed. Today, it’s a well-preserved historic prison that overlooks the Colorado River. One of the southern Arizona city’s most famed attractions is allegedly haunted by a little girl wearing a red dress. Legend has it that she drowned in the Colorado River when trying to pluck her doll from the water. If you wear red when you tour the prison, she just might pinch you, according to Yuma Heritage.

Of note: An episode of Ghost Adventures was filmed here.

Hotel Vendome

230 S. Cortez, Prescott

Head to Prescott and book room 16 at the historic Hotel Vendome, circa 1917, if you’d like to potentially encounter the spirits of Abby Byr and her cat, Noble. The tale goes that Byr’s husband left to get her medication and never returned. When someone finally went to check on Byr, who remained in room 16 waiting for her husband, both she and her cat had passed away. Guests in this room have claimed to have heard purring and scratching at the door. Sometimes the furniture has been rearranged, according to the Arizona Republic.

READ MORE: Enter if you dare: Southern Arizona’s spookiest haunted houses

Author

  • Teresa K. Traverse

    Teresa K. Traverse is a Phoenix, Arizona-based writer and editor. Her work also has appeared in national print outlets including Weight Watchers, Bust and Parenting magazines and on sites like Tripadvisor, Wine Enthusiast, SFGate, Brides, Rachael Ray Every Day, Bustle, Racked, ForRent.com, WeddingWire, Refinery29, The Daily Meal, Oxygenmag.com, USA Today and Fast Company. She's the managing editor of Sedona Monthly. In her spare time, she loves hiking, reading magazines and spending quality time with her long-haired Chihuahua, Rocket. Visit teresaktraverse.com to check out more of her work.

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